Do you ever feel like David, Asaph, and the other psalmists?
Everything is falling apart. Everyone is out to get me. There is no hope. The wicked seem to be winning. The worst seems to be happening. There’s no way out.
Psalm 73 is one of those songs. The wicked have no suffering. They always win and succeed while the godly suffer. I’m sure Asaph is not the only God-fearing person to utter words like those found in Psalm 73:13-14:
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence; for I have been stricken all day long and chastened every morning. (NASB)
It’s not so much that we feel that our salvation is in vain. We just see blatant sinners succeed time and time again. Criminals go unpunished while innocents suffer. Corrupt businesses triumph over those that try to remain pure in their practices. Those who blatantly disregard God find success after success while those who seek to serve Him with all their hearts struggle day in and day out just to make ends meet.
From an earth-bound perspective, submission to Christ seems to be a very negative thing sometimes. And it’s not going to get any better. Our culture is pushing against the Lord with increasing rapidity.
But, Psalm 73 doesn’t end with verse 14. Instead, it goes on. Verses 16 and 17 stand out most profoundly to me:
When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end. (emphasis mine)
Until I came into the sanctuary of God…
How often am I beat down because I refuse to enter the Lord’s presence? I neglect to bring my discouragements, frustrations, and fears before Him. But as soon as I do, my perspective cannot help but change. I cannot help but see every aspect of this world in light of eternity.
Once again, I can’t help but be hammered with this truth: this life is just a blip in eternity. It’s a single point on a line which, by definition, stretches infinitely in both directions. All of history and all that remains of this earth’s time fits into that single point. Barely a dot. But, that dot is all I see sometimes. Living in the middle of that dot, it looms all around me, overwhelming my sight. I forget eternity. I forget what’s beyond. And I lose sight of what’s true.
So, what is true? That I will move beyond this dot into an eternity in the glorious presence of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But they – those who seem to be succeeding now – will suffer instead. Their successes will mean nothing. In truth, they mean nothing now because they are empty. There is no real satisfaction in them. They only lead to more hunger. More striving. More missing something they can’t identify.
No matter what, though, I can always say…
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works. (Ps 73:28)